South Korea Reports 3 New Cases of MERS, No Additional Deaths

D-Bo , June 23, 2015, 9:21 a.m.

South Korea reported three new cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) Tuesday but no additional deaths from the potentially fatal disease. With the latest cases, the total number of people diagnosed with the disease here came to 175, according to the Ministry of Health and Welfare. The country's death toll remained at 27.

Two of the three new patients came from those who have already been in isolation as suspected cases, while the source of infection for the third patient was still unclear, according to ministry officials. They said the person may have been infected through an ambulance driver or a paramedic who had been exposed to MERS patients.

As of Tuesday, the number of people in isolation for possible infection came to 2,805, down from 3,833 on the previous day, according to the ministry. Since the country reported its first MERS case on May 20, over 13,000 people have been subject to quarantine with 10,718 released from isolation after showing no symptoms of the disease for more than the known maximum incubation period of 14 days.

Those subject to isolation are currently banned from leaving the country. To help prevent further spread of the disease in the country, the government said it has also placed a ban on the people subject to quarantine from using domestic air services.

"Starting from today, people subject to isolation for MERS are prohibited from using any domestic flight service in addition to international flights," the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport said in a press release. The move comes after a male patient from Seoul was earlier found to have traveled to the southern resort island of Jeju, prior to his diagnosis but after developing symptoms of MERS.

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